Friday, April 25, 2014

The Awesome Flintlock Pistol

Weapons come up a lot in fantasy, mostly the sword, but from time to time you might see some 'black powder age' weaponry, such as in Milo James Fowler's Minutemen (btw, where's the sequel to that?) 

Current story I'm working on has a witch that casts spells with a flintlock pistol, which I think is way cooler than a wand. Not to mention it's a classy weapon.

Some useful videos if you're thinking about using flintlock pistols in your story; first two specifically on reloading, last one on the general build and how it works.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Short Story: Double Feature!

So April looks to be a busy month with lots of publications coming out. For me, I've got two sci-fi stories. First up...

"Mapping in the Darkness" over at Perihelion, which you can read for free.

Mitch cranked the wheel of the SEV as he backed out of the ship’s cargo hold, and onto Plutonian soil. 
“Hey! Careful,” Jerome said from the lavatory.
“You knew I was going to do this, so why didn’t you hold it?”
“It’s not my fault I had a bean burrito.”
This is a dark comedy with one part Lovecraftian horror (if you're familiar with Lovecraft mythos, then you might recognize the aliens from "The Whisperer in Darkness"), although not in the way Lovecraft would've had it, but frankly, I consider far better (as we all know, Lovecraft didn't write characters). I love, love, love dark comedy, and took a good deal of inspiration from Dan Meth's short cartoon Google Earth Guys. Unfortunately, this story was held back due to a lack of ending. I kinda knew that, yet you know how it is, if you don't have a real drive to solve a problem, the problem just slides on by. Obvious good news is that editor Sam Bellotto Jr. gave me that shove.  

Second up...

"Spirit Flare" in Spark: A Creative Anthology, Volume V. The anthology should be out by now, but guess there's some delay--but hey! there's always preorder! 

Yeah it's a YA story; not that I set out to write YA stories but this happens to be one. It's got Hopi Indians in space, which as you imagine is not often done, so much so that I actually got my first personal from Strange Horizons with this story.

I quite like learning about other cultures and their traditions, and one perspective in Hopi culture is that age is a determining factor of how good a person you are (i.e. the older you are, the more likely you are to be a morally good person). Which does make a bit of sense since stupid or bad people usually die young. But I do find the concept fascinating compared to modern day trends, where beauty is the height of purity. I would actually like to explore this theme more in-depth, beyond the confines of a YA story. 

And I have to share this because this illustration is amazing. I rarely get art done for my stories, so it's a real treat to see something inspired by my work, and it has such a great retro-style going for it.

Seriously, is this not cool?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Flash Fiction: Twisty (aka best story evar!)

How can you say this is bad? It's awesome!

What's that calender? You say it's April 1st? Well that can only mean one thing: best story evar! from Unlikely Acceptance. And by that, I mean terrible story.

The man leapt to his feet. “Ha! Vampire, you have met you match, for I am a--” He opened his jacket to reveal rows of wooden stakes. “Vampire hunter extraordinaire!”
“How unfortunate for you,” Freebie said, and pulled a raw steak from her boot. “I’m a vampire hunter hunter.”

So the title "Twisty" should be a dead giveaway that it's about twists--twists upon twists, so twisty that it twists the sense out of your twisted brain.

Why twists? Because nothing will kill a story faster than a poorly done twist. Unsurprisingly, this hasn't deterred writers from doing said poorly done twists. For example, just look at Dean Koontz's The Taking --I loved that book till the end, where a middle finger would've been a more suitable ending than the one readers got.

So yes, bad twists are bad and make for bad fiction. Also things like overdone cliches, lack of story coherency, not keeping track of character names, and unsatisfying endings will all be major ticks against your writing.

Let this be a public message for you wannabe writers out there (and maybe you pros, too). Don't write anything resembling this crap--unless you're me, then totally write this crap.